From the beginning of time, human beings have been in the care of mother nature, whether it’s for the good or perhaps, bad in the immediate sense. No matter what the outcome, it has been shaping the course of human civilization. The knife we’re about to explore is one such contribution of nature that has been endowed to the race of men.

Obsidian knife, namely the sharpest knife in human history, is actually made from lava. Obsidian knife is forged from volcanic glass, which occurs naturally from the rapid cooling of lava erupted from the volcano and crystalizes. Those crystals are later shaped into this incredibly sharp knife. Along with the sharpness that bests razor, its hardness is also off the chart, so it doesn’t lose the edge ever. Although, such hardness also makes it fragile and prone to brittle; so, the humans from the Neolithic era had to change the stone of their spear and knife quite often after using. Now, thousands of years later, humanity still hasn’t discarded this stone age tool due to its precise sharpness and historical worth. Continue below to learn more facts about this fascinating crystal knife.


Overview of Obsidian Knives

From a general point of view, Obsidian knives are sleek little daggers that come in exquisite forms, mostly dark-ish colored quartz, sometimes found in deep blue or dark purple. The color variation comes from the impurity in the mineral. But most Obsidian blades come in a glassy ebony color, which appeals to many collectors and enthusiasts.

The erupted magma from volcanos cools off at high speed when coming to the surface, leaving the crystals no time to transform. The iron and magnesium in the silicon dioxide give it the onyx black color. So, everything about the Obsidian blade is hundred percent natural, from its build, color, and sharpness. The glassy blade that is attained by flint-knapping creates a fine edge measuring only 3nm, rivaling the edge of the diamond. Through the microscopic lens, the Obsidian knife appears to have a smooth edge as opposed to a steel blade which is rougher in comparison. This is why Obsidian blades are still used to make surgical cuts; their finer edge and sharpness resulting in a clean incision that heals sooner. It’s also more available than the other option – diamond blade, where steel scalpels are too risky to use.

The Neolithic humans also used Obsidian knives to both save and end lives. The trepanning process, which required penetrating the skull, was also performed by Obsidian knives as they were the sharpest option. The ancient image of Obsidian knives was a leaf-like blade accompanied by a bone or wooden handle. For knapping the edge successfully, men relied on antler tines. Obsidian stones used to be broken into pieces after retrieving and shaped into usable blades; now, water jets are used to cut Obsidian blades into shape before sharpening them.

Anyhow, Obsidian knives are as delicate as they are sharp. So, cutting hard objects meant breaking the knife. For this reason, Obsidian knives aren’t recommended to use in the kitchen, as little more pressure or sawing motions can risk chipping the edge. And trust me, you don’t want tiny glass debris in your food. As the Obsidian blade is made from rock, it’s actually pretty heavy. So, you can’t hope to execute typical EDC stuff with it. Although, they can be pretty useful in hunting.


Types of Obsidian Knife

Based on the tang of the knife, the Obsidian knife is categorized into two classes. Full tang and half tang Obsidian knife. The full tang Obsidian knife fashions a one-piece construction, so the handle and blade are forged from one single unit. While the edge is sharpened to cut down things at a molecular degree, the haft part is smoothened for a convenient grip and marked with textures which enhances the charm of the knife also provides an anti-slip grip.

In the half tang design, only the blade is constructed from Obsidian. The handle is made from other materials such as wood, bone, deer antlers, etc. The assembly was similar to those of spears and arrows; the stone blade is tied to the handle using rope, cloth, plant fibers, etc. First, the handle is split in the middle to some length, for the blade to fit, and later it’s tied to that. The Obsidian was shaped accordingly for the build to last.


How to Choose the Best Obsidian Knife

Size & Weight: Since Obsidian knives are forged from actual rock, it is quite heavy. These solid knives weigh between 0.3-1 pound based on the overall size. The length of Obsidian knives ranges between 6-13 inches long. Since the knives are handmade, all the knives are naturally unique from each other; even if they are forged by the same knife maker.

Blade Material & Length: Obsidian knife’s blade is made from the Obsidian stone. Among the many types of Obsidian stone available in nature, Sheen Obsidian, Mahogany Obsidian, Apache Tears, Rainbow Obsidian, etc. The blade’s length may range from 4 to 9 inches; the bigger ones are mostly decorative as they are too heavy to be put to use comfortably. Some blades offer a full tang build, while others are half tang with a handle. For safety purposes, only a single edge of this knife is sharpened, along with the tip. The edge is honed through an elaborate knapping process.

Handle: The handle of the Obsidian knife is unique in each design. The full tang versions come with a polished end of the stone to be held comfortably. Carvings are often seen in such knives for better grip and aesthetics. Separate handles are also seen on rather popular models; these are made from bone, wood, antler points, etc. The handles of ceremonial obsidian knives were seen to be designed with other gemstones, such as turquoise, mosaic, coral, etc.



Q: Is the edge of the Obsidian knife sharper than that of diamonds?

A: Yes, it’s not called the sharpest knife in the world for nothing. Obsidian beats the edge of a diamond by being triple times sharper than the diamond. Obsidian knife’s edge even surpasses the sharpness of a surgical scalpel by 500-1000 times.

Q: What are the upkeeping requirements of an Obsidian knife?

A: Whether it’s been put to use or not Obsidian knives require care from time to time. Wipe the blade with a wet cloth; you can use soap or not based on the state of the blade. Sharpening an Obsidian is a different matter; one shouldn’t attempt it without prior experience or professional presence, as it can be hazardous. To sharpen the blade, you’d need to smoothen it with a sandstone first and follow with the flint-knapping process to re-chip it, shaping a brand-new edge.

Q: Where can I buy an Obsidian Knife?

A: People tend to rely on local bladesmiths who offer to make this knife. You can buy ornamental ones from online sellers in an affordable price range. The Obsidian knives manufactured by SpiritMedicines, Atlanta cutlery, Treeline, KnifeKits the Pioneer, etc., are some of the best options in the market now, with tons of positive user feedback.


Common Uses of Obsidian Knives: Indoor & Outdoor

Obsidian knives are adored in many applications because of their piercing edge that produces a smooth cut each time. In the prehistoric era, an Obsidian knife was utilized in various ways, in the home or the battlefield. Obsidian blades were used to forge arrowheads, spears, Aztec’s wooden club macuahuitl, etc. Its dark quartz appearance and mysterious elements then earned it a sophisticated reputation among the people. They were used in performing ritualistic incisions, surgical procedures, severing the umbilical cord of the newborn, polished to use as a mirror, etc. Apart from these, men also used Obsidian knives in chores like cutting ropes, leather, stripping fat from the meat, etc.

At present, people reply on steels for that kinda task, and Obsidian has limited uses. Because even though it provides high potentiality in sharpness its build is still delicate and prone to wear down fast. Surgery is where Obsidian has the most territory now. Cuts produced by an Obsidian blade are very smooth and expose the skin tissues to minimum trauma; which results in swift healing and barely scarring the place. It’s more affordable than diamond blades, so doctors eagerly opt for it. Furthermore, its glass-like appearance is very attractive, so they make appealing collectibles & presents.



The earliest history of using Obsidian knife is by Mayan Indians, which was about 2500 years ago. As Obsidian blades were forged from volcanic crystals, no two blades looked completely alike; those needed to be hand-forged too.

There’s practically a lot to consider if you’re interested in getting an Obsidian knife for your collection or if you’re simply looking to get to know more about these compelling pieces of knives. Not to stress it, but these blades literally helped our ancestors survive the adversity that came with the way of life then, both natural and man-made.

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